Pinback performance at Lee’s Palace felt as though we were wafting through a hazy dream. The hollow wails of the vocals, the fits and starts of the guitars, and the thrumming bass lines coupled with ethereal grainy images of constellations and a gravity-less earth – it’s no wonder the San Diegans have secured a cultish following of hippie punks south of the border.">

Pinback bring their electro indie rock to Lee’s Palace


Published:

Last night’s Pinback performance at Lee’s Palace felt as though we were wafting through a hazy dream. The hollow wails of the vocals, the fits and starts of the guitars and the thrumming bass lines coupled with ethereal grainy images of constellations and a gravity-less earth – it’s no wonder the San Diegans have secured a cultish following of hippie punks south of the border.

This tour honours the band’s first album in five years, Information Retrieved, and only included two stops in Canada. Pulling heavily from the new record, multi-instrumentalists Rob Crow (who was dressed as a bearded Angus Young) and Armistead Burwell Smith IV had the walls of Lee’s Palace pulsating with reverb and droning guitar squalls. Though both have taken the time off to pursue independent side projects, their chemistry on stage as they jumped from guitar to bass to keys was effortless, and bordered on telepathic. Crow and Smith were both methodical and mathematical, dissecting rhythms meticulously with their fingers.

They might have been on the same wavelength with each other, but there was definitely a coldness in the air as the band went from track to track without speaking a single word. One guy in the crowd even yelled out, “Say something, Rob!” but Crow soldiered on to the next number as though he hadn’t heard. In my opinion, lack of verbosity worked to their credit. Information Retrieved is cavernous, empty, and expansive, so why unnecessarily clutter it?

Also, the guys made up for it with ethereal (and sometimes pretty messed up) screen projections. Grainy images splayed on to the screen ranged from shots of outer space, a dude feeding a squirrel, a beached shipwreck and the earth without gravity (spoiler: it blows up). Combined with the strangely existential quality of their sound, the experience was gut-wrenchingly beautiful. Think of it as an experiment to find the allure of the mundane, or an American Beauty plastic-bag-floating-in-the-wind scenario.

So, it’s not surprising that Pinback’s brand of electro indie rock is incomparable. The consensus seems to liken them to Linkin Park, but perhaps without the intensity of Chester Bennington. Tracks such as “Sherman” and “Proceed to Memory” were definite highlights, unifying the audience who nodded in unison and latched on to every defined note.

If there was a downfall, it was certainly the uninterrupted string of songs. For the heaviness of Pinback’s penetrating sound to adequately seep in, it would have been much better received to give us a break by way of conversation. The songs off of the new record might not be breaking any barriers, and at times, can even come off a bit monotonous — which can be a bit exhausting for those of us in the crowd. We would have much rather seen them push it to full-fledged rock territory and just let go.

Regardless of whether you were able to make it out to the gig or whether you’re pumping the record out through headphones, it’s clear that Pinback is still going strong and have an unparalleled ability to pull out unexpected and misunderstood beauty with scientifically-composed sounds.

Sabrina Nanji is a Toronto-based writer devoted to the underground music beat. She has also dabbled in reporting on the city’s street style and local politics, but her true expertise (though she’s reluctant to admit it) lies in the world of Star Wars trivia nights. Follow her on Twitter here.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Post Interview: The man who could save the CBC

Post Interview: The man who could save the CBC

In the wake of the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, the public broadcaster looks outside the box and hires hip-hop musician Shad to host its radio show Q
Posted 1 day ago
Running Hungry: Hitting the road for a run through Chicago's doughnut scene

Running Hungry: Hitting the road for a run through Chicago's doughnut scene

This week’s column will talk about some strategies for running when you’re on the road, will take us for a 12k run in Chicago, and will present a few delicious rewards at the end.
Posted 4 days ago
Ear Candy: The five best songs we heard this week with Passion Pit, Chilly Gonzales, Calvin Love & more

Ear Candy: The five best songs we heard this week with Passion Pit, Chilly Gonzales, Calvin Love & more

We’re excited about this week’s songs because there weren’t a lot of blockbuster announcements regarding album releases, as everyone’s attention seemed to be directed to summer music festivals, and that allowed us to dig deep and find some real gems. Herewith, our top five tunes of the week:
Posted 4 days ago
What to eat, drink and do between Fashion Week shows

What to eat, drink and do between Fashion Week shows

Toronto is abuzz with World MasterCard Fashion Week half complete. And with that, so are Toronto’s hot spots - with pretty, young things, coveting their favourite looks by notable Canadian designers - hustling to get a tea/cocktail/meal of food in before rushing off to the next show on their to do list.
Posted 5 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module